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Bio-composites for structural applications: Poly-l-lactide reinforced with long sisal fiber bundles

Authors

  • Marek Prajer,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Mechanical Engineering, BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom
    Current affiliation:
    1. Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Brno University of Technology, Technicka 3058/10, 616 00 Brno, Czech Republic
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  • Martin P. Ansell

    1. Department of Mechanical Engineering, BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom
    Current affiliation:
    1. Martin P. Ansell, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7AY, United Kingdom
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ABSTRACT

Fully bio-based and biodegradable composites were compression molded from unidirectionally aligned sisal fiber bundles and a polylactide polymer matrix (PLLA). Caustic soda treatment was employed to modify the strength of sisal fibers and to improve fiber to matrix adhesion. Mechanical properties of PLLA/sisal fiber composites improved with caustic soda treatment: the mean flexural strength and modulus increased from 279 MPa and 19.4 GPa respectively to 286 MPa and 22 GPa at a fiber volume fraction of Vf = 0.6. The glass transition temperature decreased with increasing fiber content in composites reinforced with untreated sisal fibers due to interfacial friction. The damping at the caustic soda-treated fibers-PLLA interface was reduced due to the presence of transcrystalline morphology at the fiber to matrix interface. It was demonstrated that high strength, high modulus sisal-PLLA composites can be produced with effective stress transfer at well-bonded fiber to matrix interfaces. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 40999.

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